A Will is a legal document which sets out how your assets, known as your estate, will be distributed following your death. A Will can be straight forward, simply setting out to whom you wish to leave your estate.
On the other hand, it can be more complex, making various provisions ranging from the appointment of guardians for your children, incorporating funeral wishes, and creating trusts which will continue following your death.
Reasons to make a Will
If you don’t have a Will then you are not deciding who will receive your assets when you die. Instead, your assets will pass according to an ancient set of laws (known as the Intestacy Rules) which determine who should receive your estate. If you have a Will then it is you who decides who should receive your estate, not the Government.
If you don’t have a Will, your estate usually passes to close family members (often referred to as your next of kin). If you don’t have any close family, then all of your estate may pass to the Government.
It may be the case that the members of your family who benefit under the Intestacy rules are not those who you would want to benefit. You can only make sure that your Estate goes to those who you want by making a Will.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, don’t automatically assume that you entire estate will pass to your spouse irrespective of whether you have a Will. That is not always the case.
There may be non family members whom you would want to benefit from your estate such as a partner, lifetime companion, friend or a charity. If you don’t make provision for them in a Will then they will not be entitled to any part of your estate. You can only ensure that they benefit by making a Will.
Your estate may be liable to inheritance tax following your death. In having a Will you can make provisions which reduces the amount of tax which is due.
When you die, your estate has to be administered which can be a complicated and time consuming process. It may involve selling property and closing bank accounts as well as dealing with the legal process of obtaining probate. If you don’t have a Will then your next of kin will be expected to deal with the administration process. This can be particularly difficult at such an emotional time. If you make a Will, then you also appoint Executors who will deal with the administration of your Estate. This means that you can appoint someone whom you trust to carry out this very important task.
If you have a Will then you can also make other important decisions such as the appointment of guardians for your children, or giving an expression of wishes as to the disposal of your body.
Direct Wills Trusts Surrey are a team of experienced Surrey Will Writers who can draw on many years experience of providing practical and professional advice. Whether it be the preparation of a simple Will or providing detailed advice on Estate Planning, then we can advise.